January 27, 2022

Huge heat-fueled fire in southern Cyprus, EU and Israel to the rescue

While western Canada continues to be ravaged by fires, the eastern Mediterranean is not spared. A huge fire, fueled by winds and heat, broke out on Saturday (July 3) in southern Cyprus, prompting authorities to ask for help from Israel and the European Union (EU) to extinguish the flames that led to the evacuation of ten villages. The island has been facing a heat wave since the start of the week, with temperatures sometimes exceeding 45 degrees Celsius.

After several hours, the firefighters have not yet managed to extinguish the fire which continues to rage in the late evening in the district of Arakapas located north of the port city of Limassol. No casualties were reported but several houses were destroyed.

Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades thanked Greece, which sent two canadairs as part of a European mechanism, and Israel, a country neighboring Cyprus, for having responded to the call on this day. ” difficult “.

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Evacuations as a precaution

Officials say two more water bomber planes are expected from Italy as part of the European emergency aid mechanism. In Israel, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office announced that two canadairs and flame retardant substances would be sent to the island on Sunday.

Villages in the neighboring district of Larnaca, a coastal town located about fifty kilometers from Limassol, were evacuated as a precaution. Smoke from the fire was visible from Larnaca.

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Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides told the national news agency CNA that authorities had requested assistance from Israel, whose coastline is more than 200 kilometers from those of the island. Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis told him that he had also asked for EU help.

More than twenty firefighters, six helicopters and four planes have already been mobilized, as well as members of the British troops stationed at UK bases on the island.

The World with AFP